suzusan Designer interview
2020SS collection and future outlook

A designer interview project which focuses on the thoughts of creators to approach the background of creation.

This series features Suzusan, which has modernized Arimatsu Narumi Shibori, a traditional shibori tie-dyeing technique that has been inherited in the Arimatsu Narumi area of Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, for more than 400 years.

Hiroyuki Murase, born as the 5th generation of the family of Suzusan Shoten which inherits Arimatsu Narumi Shibori, started a new business in Germany and has arranged the traditional products from a unique point of view.

In the third session, they talked about the 2020SS collection and future outlook.

Hiroyuki Murase

Based in Düsseldorf, Germany, Hiroyuki Murase, who was born as the fifth generation of the family of Suzusan Shoten, reinterprets and arranges the traditional Arimatsu Narumi Shibori technique which has been inherited in the Arimatsu Narumi area of Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, for more than 400 years.

He introduces collections that combine the tradition of Arimatsu Narumi Shibori with modernistic components.



He is the editor-in-chief, working mainly on the behind the scenes work.

He worked as a stage and advertisement photographer before joining the company in March 2019.



"Importance of making time for myself in my daily life, that was the beginning of my spring and summer collection."

The theme of the 20SS is "Beach". The start of the collection was to imagine life in a place where a friend went on vacation.

Relaxing time and imagining life at that time was the start of the creation.

---What was the reason for choosing "Beach" as the theme for the spring/summer collection?

That was what I was feeling, it started when I realized that I was a little bit bored with the city and found the importance of making time for myself in my daily life.

I have a Greek acquaintance who works in London and I really liked the idea of going back to Greece for vacation, spending time with family and friends, then coming back refreshed.

A variety of works using "blue" are eye-catching this season. Various shades of blue, from deep blue to light blue are lined up.

Create vibrant and rich colors to suit eclectic tastes.

---Will the key color of the collection be blue?

This time around, I think it's not very shibori like, in a good way, from deep blue to light blue.

Up until now, I had purposely lowered the tone to give it a crafty feel, but this time I wanted to give it a lighter tone and give it an effortless feel so I consciously made the colors lighter and thinner.

---There are many other colors too right?

The shops that carry our products are diverse so we have to find things that people like in common, so we focus on the balance of the collection as a whole, rather than just making it distinctive in one particular place.

I've always wanted to be multifaceted, regardless of the color.

I feel that tradition and handwork are not the only things that can be seen from that aspect.

Some of the new work.
The colors have a spring/summer feeling of lightness and coolness.

Something that is effortless in terms of comfort and atmosphere.

---Do you have a new take on the fabric you're using?

It took about 20 years to develop the fabric used for the cut sew, it's a good material that really brings together Japanese technology.

It's made of double gauze and it's really soft to the touch so even babies and people with skin allergies can wear it.

It's so comfortable that it feels light for a T-shirt, the response at the Paris exhibition was very good too.

It's a knit made from Japanese paper.

The manila hemp, which is the raw material, grows very fast and is environmentally friendly, and it absorbs so much water that it feels like your skin is breathing.

I thought it would be interesting to use it because the raw materials are plant-based, so it returns to the soil in the end.

We are very particular about the dyeing method and we have Mr. Kazuki Yamazaki, the third generation of the Yamazaki family, who is the founder of natural dyeing, dyeing our products under the name "Kusaki Dye"

Pullover knit top made of Japanese paper.
Gray is dyed using charcoal made from pine trees called shouen, which is usually used as a raw material for making ink.

---Is there any difference in design between mens and ladies?

This season in particular, I think of the brand as a unisex brand.

In terms of fashion trends, gender barriers are disappearing more and more and we are conscious of what people can wear regardless of their various races and genders.

Right now, we have a slightly larger proportion of women's products but in the future we would like to develop it as a unisex brand.

In a sense, this season's collection is a forerunner of that, or so it seems.

---What do you suggest in terms of style?

I don't have any particular style suggestions and I really want people to be able to enjoy themselves on an individual basis.

After 10 years of making our work for someone who likes it, having them use it, and seeing them use it, I feel energized to create it again.

There are times when it's hard to keep going, but I'm glad to see that someone is using my work.

I'm most happy if wearing the items I like makes me feel better or more fun and I think that's the way fashion is supposed to be enjoyed.

A cod-dyed spring coat dyed using the technique of winding randomly gathered cloth with thread.
I was asked to make a solid color that was not in my collection in Black / Natural White.

--What are your thoughts on the future development of the brand?

The reason I started this brand was to revive this industry and I'm going to continue doing what I want to do while I'm still doing it, but even if I die one day, I hope that the next generation will come up with new ideas and ways of doing things that are appropriate for that era and that will lead to the next generation.

As we pass on the wonderful culture that was born in Arimatsu to future generations, I hope that this brand will remain as part of that culture in 50 or 100 years, I hope that we can pass it on to the next generation someday.

---You want to not only to connect traditions to the next generation, but also to evolve them.

Having sold suzusan overseas until now, I feel that this Arimatsu shibori has a great potential to attract people and to be able to do so.

We have interns from overseas in Arimatsu and I think that we are no longer in an era where only Japanese people can take over or pass on the work to others like the past.

In that sense, we need to be flexible to meet the needs of the times, and I would like to create a foundation that allows for a flexible approach not only to manufacturing, but also to teach manufacturing so that we can pass it on to the next generation.

2020SS Collection